Love stories, visually told.
Loft 310 Wedding
A quick note before you begin reading – I tried something a little different and focused more on individual images from Brooke and Michael’s blogpost. I wanted each photo to capture the essence of the moment. Quality over quantity. I hope you enjoy.
The phone rang. A seemingly familiar but completely friendly voice was on the other line. She introduced herself as Brooke and was interested in wedding photography.
“You photographed my best friend’s wedding, Auldon + Cody and we love your work. One thing though…we are getting married in Kalamazoo.”
My heart stop and a smile came across my face.
“That is awesome. I know Kalamazoo quite well. I went to school there.”
Twenty minutes later, I had a wedding to shoot, a check next to a photography goal of mine, and a new friend.
It is hard to put Brooke and Michael’s wedding into words. If I had to pick two: warm and genuine. The wedding weekend started off with a rehearsal and dinner party at their condo at the Loft 310 in Kalamazoo. Normally, at these events (and really every wedding), I try to remain as inconspicuous as possible, hanging out where no one is, photographing from corners. That wasn’t possible with Brooke and Michael’s family. Everyone there welcomed me with open arms and treated me like family. Honestly, it was hard to leave the party at the end of the night and prep for their Loft 310 Wedding the next day.
The morning of the wedding, Brooke and Michael got ready at the Loft 310. I got an inspirational preview of groom and bridal prep areas the night before and it reaffirms something I learned long ago – where you get ready really matters. You will spend about 20% of your wedding day photography coverage getting ready. Having a variety of backdrops and more importantly, enough room for your bridal party (and me to work) is important. The condo at Loft 310 was tastefully modern and chic. I heard more than one person say they wanted to live there, and I agreed. One of the best parts for Brooke and Michael was their reception was held just a few floors below, allowing them to retire into the night quite conveniently.
The morning prep started with the guys. Michael was excited to start the day and was helped by his dad as well as a portrait of Leonardo DiCaprio dressed in an old European military outfit (you will see.)
Just down the hall, the girls were “getting ready” as well. But first, champagne!
All day, from prep to our end-of-the-night shot, Brooke was stunning. Angelic, her soft and forgiving eyes would engage with the camera and I couldn’t help but to photograph what I felt was her true and inner beauty.
After Brooke got dressed, we stepped into the master bedroom, which had black walls and large windows. (I mean, who paints an entire room black? Only daring interior designers and lucky photographers.) I spent a few minutes working just with Brooke in my makeshift studio. With each click of the shutter, I felt like Rembrandt creating classic and beautiful portraits that will endure for ages. Though simple, this may be my favorite portrait I have ever taken. It honestly makes me want to start photographing brides before the wedding in a studio setting and use the photos somehow on the wedding day. If you have any ideas how, let me know.
Outside of the master bedroom, Brooke’s dad was getting ready for a first look with his daughter. I had the pleasure of talking with Brooke’s mom at length during their rehearsal. We both share a love of teaching business and economics. It was obviously where Brooke’s warm heart and demeanor came from.
With both Broom and Michael ready, it was time for their first look. We chose a quite and remote location on Western Michigan University’s old campus. As soon as I saw the building, I knew it was the perfect backdrop for their special moment.
The best part about Brooke and Michael was they needed no direction on their wedding day. Their love, excitement, and emotions came so naturally through the photos, I was simply there to document.
Ok, so maybe I did pose this one! But you can’t blame me…Brooke looks fierce!
After their first look, we headed to my alma mater, Kalamazoo College. Embarrassingly, I chose to attend there without doing any research on the school. I did however, drive up to an empty campus in the middle the summer and after walking around its beauty for 15 minutes, decided to go there. Yes, I decided where to go to college solely based on the beauty of some buildings. Now, you can imagine how excited I was when Brooke told me she was getting married in Kalamazoo. I knew immediately where I wanted to shoot.
Again, this is where I feel Brooke’s true beauty comes out and turns an image into art.
After photographing the bridal party and Brooke and Michael at Kalamazoo College, it was time to get married. They held their ceremony at First Presbyterian Church in downtown Kalamazoo.
Waiting for them outside was their uncle’s 1954 Cadillac. It has a long history of driving Brooke’s family members around on their wedding day. After the bubble exit, we hopped in and took it for a drive around the block. Brides – it is so important to schedule and share some private moments with just the two of you on your day. Originally, we weren’t going to go for a ride but I felt like it was the right thing to do with all of her guests still waiting outside. That drive allowed for them to breathe and share share this “OMG, we just got married!” moment. It was beautiful to see Brooke collapse into Michael’s arms in our bliss.
After the church, we headed to the reception to kick off their Loft 310 wedding. With an empty room, we were able to snap a few more photos before guests were invited up. I was very excited to photograph there. I only hear good things about the venue. Think about that for a second…I knew and heard good things about a venue almost 3 hours away…that is impressive. Loft 310 didn’t disappoint. It was a very cool, chic, and unique vibe. Industrial, yet clean and elegant.
With guests in place, it was time to kick off their Loft 310 wedding reception.
One pleasantly unexpected surprise about the loft was the continuously changing uplighting placed permanently around the room. It made for some interesting and fun dance photos.
With the evening winding down, I knew I had a few more shots to get for their Loft 310 wedding. Inside the Loft, I found a staircase that was perfect for an intimate moment.
Lastly, we stepped outside of their Loft 310 wedding and onto the streets of Kalamazoo. While I have some images of Brooke and Michael perfectly posed here in their portfolio, I thought this photo resonated with who they were – happy and excited to have just married their best friend.
Brooke, Michael, thank you so much for inviting me to celebrate this amazing day with you. Your Loft 310 wedding is what every wedding should be – beautiful, fun, and filled with love. Best wishes to you both and I hope to see you in Louisville sometime 😉